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->''"When you were trying to make a girl fall in love with you, it took roses, the Ferris wheel and Roy Orbison."''
-->--Music/TomWaits

Roy Orbison (19361988) is considered by his peers to have been the most powerful voice to ever sing RockAndRoll. Before Music/TheBeatles, he was also one of its most innovative composers.

Roy was born and grew up in Texas. He got a guitar for his sixth birthday, and within a year, he was commited to a life of music. He grew up a fan of Lefty Frizzell, Music/HankWilliams, and Jimmie Rodgers. He also took in the various sounds of [[TheForties 1940s]] Texas: Rhythm & Blues, Tex-Mex, Zydeco, and the orchestral music of Annunzio Mantovani.

In the early [[TheFifties 1950s]], he formed a band called The Teen Kings. He met Music/JohnnyCash in 1955, and Cash recommended producer Music/SamPhillips. The Teen Kings sent the soon-to-be-legendary Sun Records producer a recording of a {{Rockabilly}} song called "Ooby Dooby", which impressed Phillips enough to sign them. Under Phillips' direction, they re-recorded "Ooby Dooby", and it became their first hit. More rockabilly songs and much touring followed, but the Teen Kings broke up at the end of 1956 over royalty disputes. Roy stayed at Sun as a solo act and songwriter. His song "Claudette" (about his girlfriend and soon to be wife) became the B-side of Music/TheEverlyBrothers' big hit "All I Have To Do Is Dream", earning Roy his first real money. But Roy found Sun Records frustrating, and left for country music song publisher Acuff-Rose.

Roy met Joe Melson in 1958 and the two became a songwriting team. Roy recorded his material for RCA Victor, but when his contract ran out in 1959, his agent Wesley Rose found a better place for him, Monument Records in Nashville.

All the pieces needed for success were now in place. Roy and Joe hit their stride as songwriters, beginning with "Uptown", Roy's first hit since "Ooby Dooby". Monument Records provided top-notch session musicians, and allowed Roy to experiment, bringing in strings at his request. And in 1960, Roy finally found the power of his voice, with "Only The Lonely", which went to #2 and made Roy a star. After "Only The Lonely", Roy began to experiment with song structure. He introduced the BoleroEffect to American pop with "Running Scared", his first #1, in 1961.

For the next four years, Roy was one of the biggest names in American music, filling a void left behind by the rock and roll pioneers of TheFifties who were now either [[Music/ElvisPresley drafted]], [[Music/BuddyHolly dead]], [[Music/ChuckBerry in jail]] or [[Music/LittleRichard playing gospel music]]. A string of hits from 1961 to '64 showcased his {{Opera}} singer-like voice and broke new ground in songwriting and production, including "Crying", "Dream Baby", "In Dreams", "It's Over", and "Oh, Pretty Woman". Following the pattern of "Running Scared", these songs were two and a half minute operas of heartbreak, loneliness, and hope for new love, with plenty of {{Plot Twist}}s, ManlyTears, and in the uptempo numbers, manly swagger. He also created an onstage persona of a mysterious Man In Black, singing while standing perfectly still, wearing a black suit and CoolShades.[[note]]This wasn't planned - Orbison left his regular glasses on a plane during a tour with the Music/{{Beatles}} and had to wear his prescription sunglasses to be able to see to perform at the gig. Both the audience and Orbison liked the look, Orbison finding it helped with his StageFright problem.[[/note]] This was [[MeanCharacterNiceActor quite the opposite]] of his real personality however, and was more about helping him deal with [[PerformanceAnxiety stage fright]].

Roy went on a UK tour in the spring of 1963 with Music/TheBeatles, who were just achieving fame in their home country. The Beatles were huge Orbison fans, and Roy became friends with Music/JohnLennon and especially Music/GeorgeHarrison. Further tours took him around the world, and wherever he went, huge crowds came to see him.

"Oh, Pretty Woman" turned out to be the peak of his career, however. After 1964, The Beatles changed the direction of rock music, and Roy was left behind. His writing parter Joe Melson left to pursue solo success. His agent Wesley Rose took him to MetroGoldwynMayer so that he could follow Elvis Presley into film. Wesley also took over as Roy's music producer. Without the Nashville session musicians, Roy didn't have the same sound, and record sales plummeted.

Tragedy struck in 1966 when his wife Claudette was killed in a motorcycle accident. Roy's movie career ended after one movie, ''The Fastest Guitar Alive''. He recorded {{Cover Album}}s of Hank Williams and Don Gibson songs, which didn't sell. Tragedy struck again in 1968 when his house burned down while he was on tour, killing two of his children. Orbison remarried in 1969, to Barbara Jakobs.

Throughout the '70s, Roy [[GermansLoveDavidHasselhoff remained popular outside of the U.S.]], especially in Britain and Australia. He continued recording, but he had disappeared from American pop music. Meanwhile, a new generation of rock, pop, and country musicians began putting {{Cover Version}}s of his songs on the charts. Sonny James had a country #1 with "Only The Lonely", Music/LindaRonstadt covered "Blue Bayou", Music/DonMcLean did "Crying", and Music/VanHalen did "Oh, Pretty Woman".

Roy won his first GrammyAward in 1980, for a duet with Emmylou Harris on "That Lovin' You Feelin' Again". But what really started Roy's comeback was the use of "In Dreams" in DavidLynch's 1986 noir film ''BlueVelvet''. More movies used his songs the next year, one of which, ''Hiding Out'', won him another Grammy for a remake of "Crying" as a duet with k. d. lang. Roy had become a star again. He was inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. He starred in a television special, ''Roy Orbison and Friends, A Black and White Night'', playing his songs with an all-star band that included Music/BruceSpringsteen, Music/ElvisCostello, Music/JacksonBrowne, Music/TomWaits, Bonnie Raitt, Elvis Presley's final band (guitairst James Burton, pianist Glen D. Hardin, bassist Jerry Scheff, and drummer Ronnie Tutt) and musical director T-Bone Burnett.

Roy began working on a new album with Jeff Lynne of the Music/ElectricLightOrchestra. Lynne was working on George Harrison's ''Cloud Nine'', and George invited his old friend to sing on it. They asked Music/BobDylan if they could use his home studio. Harrison went to Music/TomPetty's house to pick up a guitar. By the end of the day, all five musicians had written a song together, "Handle With Care", and decided to form a {{Supergroup}}, Music/TheTravelingWilburys. They pretended to be half-brothers, and took StageNames: Roy named himself Lefty Wilbury after one of his favorite musicians, Lefty Frizzell. Their album ''Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1'', went to #3 and stayed on the charts for over a year. Meanwhile, Roy restarted his solo project with Lynne. Roy wrote songs with Lynne and Petty, and many others contributed songs, including {{Music/U2}}, Elvis Costello, and Roy's son Wesley. ''Mystery Girl'' was recorded in October and November of 1988, and only needed to be mixed and mastered for its release in early '89. But on December 6, Roy died of a heart attack.

Roy's death was observed around the world. ''Mystery Girl'' became the biggest album of his career, and "You Got It" went to #1 on the adult contemporary chart. A "final" album of unreleased songs, ''King of Hearts'', was released in 1992. His widow Barbara managed his legacy, releasing best-ofs, box sets, and live performances, until her death from cancer in 2011.

[[http://www.royorbison.com/ Official site]]

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!!Solo albums:
* ''Roy Orbison at the Rock House'' (1961, a collection of his Sun Records material)
* ''Lonely And Blue'' (1961)
* ''Crying'' (1962)
* ''In Dreams'' (1963)
* ''There Is Only One Roy Orbison'' (1965)
* ''Orbisongs'' (1965)
* ''The Orbison Way'' (1966)
* ''The Classic Roy Orbison'' (1966)
* ''Roy Orbison Sings Don Gibson'' (1967)
* ''The Fastest Guitar Alive Original Soundtrack'' (1967)
* ''Cry Softly Lonely One'' (1967)
* ''Roy Orbison's Many Moods'' (1969)
* ''Hank Williams The Roy Orbison Way'' (1970)
* ''The Big O'' (1970)
* ''Roy Orbison Sings'' (1972)
* ''Memphis'' (1972)
* ''Milestones'' (1973)
* ''I'm Still In Love With You'' (1974)
* ''Regeneration'' (1977)
* ''Laminar Flow'' (1979)
* ''Mystery Girl'' (1989)
* ''King of Hearts'' (1992)

!!Collaborations:
* ''Class of '55'' (1985, with Music/JerryLeeLewis, Music/JohnnyCash, and Carl Perkins)
* ''Roy Orbison and Friends, A Black and White Night'' (1988 all-star TV special)
* ''Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1'' (1988, with Music/BobDylan, Music/GeorgeHarrison, Music/TomPetty, and [[Music/ElectricLightOrchestra Jeff Lynne]])
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!!Roy Orbison provides examples of:
* AbortedArc: His movie career (he wasn't a good actor) and his 1980s comeback (AuthorExistenceFailure).
* AlbumFiller: Roy was a singles artist, so his albums from the '60s and '70s tend to be singles and filler (including a lot of covers). Spectacularly averted on ''Mystery Girl''.
* AlbumTitleDrop: ''Mystery Girl'', "She's A Mystery To Me"
* AwardBaitSong: "Crying", remade as a duet with k. d. lang for the movie ''Hiding Out''. Won a Grammy.
* BlindWithoutThem: Those CoolShades? They were corrective lenses prescripted by his doctor. He could barely see without them.
* BoleroEffect: The [[TropeMakers Trope Maker]] for bolero in rock and pop, with "Running Scared".
* BreakupSong
* [[ChristmasSongs Christmas Song]]: "Pretty Paper"
* CoolShades
* CoverAlbum: Two. One for Music/HankWilliams and one for Don Gibson.
* CoverVersion: He did lots of covers, and beginning in the '70s, lots of other musicians covered him.
* DanceSensation: "Ooby Dooby"
* DooWopProgression: "Lana"
* EchoingAcoustics
* GreatestHitsAlbum: Several. Roy even re-recorded his greatest hits for the 1987 compilation ''In Dreams: The Greatest Hits''.
* IntercourseWithYou: The posthoumously released "I drove all night", better known [[CoveredUp for its covers by]] Music/CyndiLauper and Music/CelineDion, is all about this. It's from the POV of a guy who takes a long drive to sneak into his girlfriend's room, wake her up and have sex.
-->"I drove all night / to get to you / Is that all right? / I drove all night / Crept in your room / Woke you from your sleep... / To make love to you... / Is that all right? / I drove all night..."
* LoveHurts: Frequently sang about heartbreak, and had a minor hit with a cover version of the Everly Brothers song that is the probable TropeNamer.
* MelismaticVocals: A part of his style. "Crying" turns the title word into a five-note melody.
* NeoclassicalPunkZydecoRockabilly: Rockabilly and doo-wop meet classical and opera.
* OneWomanSong: "Claudette", "Lana", "Leah"
* PerformanceAnxiety
* {{Pop}}
* PosthumousCollaboration: Rodney Crowell's 1992 hit "What Kind of Love", in a sense. He and Will Jennings wrote lyrics to a melody that Orbison had composed shortly before his death.
* RefrainFromAssuming: "She's A Mystery To Me". What sounds like a TitleOnlyChorus is actually an AlbumTitleDrop; the ''song's'' title is the last line of each verse.
** "Oh, Pretty Woman" (or "Oh! Pretty Woman" depending on album) is more usually known as "Pretty Woman".
* {{Scatting}}: Many songs had backing vocals singing doo-wop phrases.
* ScaryMusicianHarmlessMusic: Just looking at his black hair, shades, and black suit, you'd think he sang {{Murder Ballad}}s or was another Music/JohnnyCash. But no, he sang love songs.
* SillyLoveSongs
* TheSixties: Specifically the early '60s.
* SubduedSection: Beginning with "Only The Lonely", this became a part of his style.
* {{Supergroup}}: Music/TheTravelingWilburys.
** Also, in his live concert video, "A Black and White Night", he was backed by BruceSpringsteen, ElvisCostello, Jackson Browne, [[AllLowercaseLetters k.d. lang]] (who joined Roy in a duet of "Crying"), Tom Waits, Jennifer Warnes and Bonnie Raitt.
* TitleOnlyChorus: "Ooby Dooby", "Leah"
* TitleTrack: "Crying", "In Dreams", "Cry Softly Lonely One"
* TwistEnding: "Running Scared"
* VocalDissonance: Yup, that deep baritone voice belonged to a skinny, blackhaired guy with CoolShades.

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